Of course, that is Anne Hathaway aka Shakespeare’s wife, not Anne “the actress everyone loves to hate” Hathaway. Yet anther one of the historic homes in the Stratford-upon-Avon area. This one has incredibly lovely gardens!
Long before Sam and I moved to Stratford, several years ago when I studied abroad in England during University, we visited Stratford on a school trip. Anne Hathaway’s cottage was the place I remembered most vividly from that trip so it was nice to be able to go back and experience it again.
View of the cottage from the gardens.
This is the house where a young Shakespeare would have come to court a much older (and wealthier Anne). Rumour has it that they married because she was already pregnant. Naughty, naughty Shakespeare! It’s knowns as “the most romantic of the Shakespeare houses.”
Inside some of the little huts made with branches around the property, there are places to sit and a button to press. When you press the button, the voice of a famous actors surrounds you, reading you various sonnets.
There was a festival the day we visited, complete with a booth for making larger paper flowers. I let Sam chose the colours and for some reason he decided on orange and blue and the woman at the booth said, “Maybe you should have chosen….”
Despite the strange colour combination, I love our huge paper flower. We moved most of our belongings down to our storage unit in London last week, and this paper flower is one of the few things left in our Stratford flat. We are going to float him down the River Avon when we leave to say goodbye. (Plus, it would never make the journey back to London undamaged.)
#1 Titled- One man contemplates a paper flower.
Price on Request.
There’s so many nice things to do at the cottage and gardens. There’s a lovely orchard you can stroll through and you’re allowed to eat any apples you can get your hands on. Plus there’s a lavender maze. (Like a corn maze but much better smelling.) And a 20 minute woodland walk on the property.
I have a love/hate relationship with the singing tree. It’s a real tree rigged to read sonnets and bits of Shakespeare to you when you tap or stroke it on nailed in bits of copper in the trunk. Despite my trying at least 100 times, the tree never registered my touch. Sam barely touched it at all and it would recognise his fingers. Maybe I am just a figment of everyone’s imagination? Or a ghost? Maybe I’m like Bruce Willis in the “Sixth Sense” and I just think that I have continued to write my blog.
Look at the massive queue of elderly patrons waiting to go inside the cottage behind me!
Sam and I have so few photos together because we never ask anyone to take them for us.
This time a lovely woman volunteered and we didn’t even ask! We must have looked desperate.
This wicker crescent moon bench is a functional sculpture inspired by “The Merchant of Venice”:
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
I love that it frames the cottage so beautifully. Obviously it was intentional, I just really appreciate it!
See that? It’s a potato on a string with feathers stuck in it.
No, that’s not a weird Shakespearean voodoo doll, it is what Tudor farmers would put in the fields to scare birds away. Although I think it looks like a bird sitting on a wire. And if I was a bird that wouldn’t scare me away. In fact, it would draw me in because I’d think “Hey let’s go chill with my buddy over there on that fence. Maybe there are good snacks.”
I clearly don’t understand the logic behind the potato bird.
“Baaa ram ewe! Wait, why aren’t the moving the way I want them to? It worked for Babe….”
This will let you know what a city girl I am, but I am still tickled when I see sheep just wandering around. I always try to talk to them. That’ll do pig, that’ll do.
Of course, a day out in the countryside in England wouldn’t be complete without a rainy walk back home!